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For the O’Briens, operating the Candlelight Inn has allowed them to do what they truly love – treat guests to delicious food, excellent service and great conversation.
Michael and Wanda O’Brien both fell in love with the ocean at an early age. Michael, who grew up on Long Island, spent many childhood summers at the family beach house and later would frequently visit his former college roommate in Wildwood. Wanda, a New Hampshire native, fondly remembers her family’s trips to the beach and the old wooden boardwalk near her grandmother’s home in Brick, NJ.
So, it’s not surprising that when the couple decided they wanted to take the plunge and buy a bed and breakfast, they kept coming back to the beach.
After an exhaustive search, the O’Briens purchased the Candlelight Inn from longtime owners Bill and Nancy Moncrief in July 2014. The classic Victorian charm, central location to both the Cape May wine trail and Wildwood entertainment, and, most importantly, the proximity to the beach was exactly what they had been looking for in a bed and breakfast.
While Michael has an extensive business background, the bed and breakfast has allowed him to tap into his true passion for cooking. His enthusiasm for fresh ingredients and creative cuisine is evident in every dish he serves. Wanda, who admits to having no cooking skills, manages the day-to-day operations of the inn and also serves as the main taste-tester for Michael’s many culinary endeavors.
Michael and Wanda have two adult sons – Brian, currently enlisted in the PA Army National Guard and attending Lehigh Carbon Community College and Vinny, a sophomore at Temple majoring in finance.
The family spent many years living in Huntington Station, Long Island and later moved to Schnecksville, Pa. in 2010.
The O’Briens also have two dogs and a cat – Ozzy, an Australian Cattle dog; Cooper, a Australian Kelpi; and Lily, a house cat – that reside in the owners quarters for the comfort of guests with allergies.
“Michael & Wanda are the best and the housekeeper treats this place as if it's her own business and it shows!”
"A great location, warm and friendly hospitality, and a warm & cozy atmosphere."
"our hospitality matches the graciousness and comfort of this home you run."
"This was our first B&B experience. Our stay at the Candlelight has set the standard by which others will have to match."
Michael O’Brien grew up in Rockville Center, Long Island and later attended Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pa., where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. He went on to receive a graduate degree in law from Rutgers University School of Law in New Brunswick, NJ.
Michael has had a diverse career that includes being an educator, serving as a teacher, administrator and school president, and in-house counsel for two Fortune 200 companies.
Most recently, he served as a deacon for Zion’s United Church of Christ (the Liberty Bell Church) in Allentown, Pa.
Over the years, Michael has played an active role in the community by coaching his son’s sports teams, volunteering with the Boy Scouts, and helping with his church’s many charitable events.
Wanda O’Brien was born and raised in Manchester, NH. She later moved to New York to attend New York University and graduated with a degree in theater with a minor in psychology. During her years living in the city she worked as a casting agent for a TV commercial company and had the opportunity to meet and work with celebrities including B.B. King and Wendy’s restaurant chain owner Dave Thomas. She later received a master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and worked for the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson, N.Y., an accredited model school for children with severe physical disabilities and who often require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day. In Pennsylvania, Wanda worked for The Impact Project, a private children and youth agency offering assistance to foster care youth and families.