Since his days at Lehigh, acting was the career focus for Victor Gelb ’74. But shifting gears to owning a bed and breakfast (B&B) has proven rewarding for Gelb and his wife, Cam. As the owners of 434 On Main, a boutique B&B in Amagansett in the Hamptons, New York, the Gelbs have spent the last 10 years hosting visitors who stay in one of the four guestrooms.

A husband stands side by side with his wife with his arms wrapped around her while they both smile.

“When our youngest was in college in Ithaca, New York, we started staying in B&Bs and found the lifestyle appealing,” Gelb says. “When we realized we were both very tired of our careers and needed a change, the idea of running a B&B kept coming up as a way to stay busy but not work full time.”

They looked for a business to buy in Ogunquit, Maine, and Ithaca, but both were quite far from New York City, where their sons live. They decided on Amagansett since they were both familiar with the area. Gelb’s family owned a home there for many years. They bought a 1905 house on Main Street, did an extensive renovation, and opened 434 on Main in July 2014.

First Calling
At Lehigh, Gelb majored in English/theatre and was part of the Mustard and Cheese Drama Society. After college, Gelb returned to his hometown of New York in hopes of becoming an actor. Gelb was impressed by the caliber of talent displayed by other men and found he shined as a stage manager instead of acting on stage. 

“The next seven years were spent at various theaters and touring companies, where I was fortunate to work with many wonderful people and, most importantly, the actress that is now my wife, Cam,” he says.

Gelb met Cam when they were both performing in a children’s theater production of Babes in Toyland. Right after marrying in 1980, Cam went on a three-month tour of Carousel, and in June, Gelb went to the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine for the summer season. “Come September, I was offered a national tour with a two-year commitment on the road, not exactly the way to start a successful marriage.”

Gelb could not see a happy marriage if he was on the road for months out of each year. He chose to leave theater, earned an MBA in computer methodology, and began his career in sales, working for several major corporations. Cam became a theater teacher, director, and choreographer for their local school district and Gelb became the department’s technical director. 

“For me it was part time so I could continue my day job, but three times each school year we mounted major productions, musicals, and plays at our high school. We did that for over 20 years. So, when we decided to open the B&B, we were very comfortable working with each other. It was a pretty seamless transition.”

Husband and wife stand side by side on a porch holding their standard poodle on a leash.

Life as an Innkeeper
The Gelbs have met some wonderful people, some of whom have become good friends. “The most rewarding part of the job is to have a tired, grumpy couple show up on Friday and have them leave on Sunday smiling and relaxed,” says Gelb. “Most of our business is couples who have stayed with us before, some many times, and keep returning to enjoy our B&B.”

Gelb says one of his favorite days of the year at the B&B is Veterans Day. They are part of a national organization, B&Bs for Vets, whose members offer at least one night of free lodging to veterans and active-duty military. “We’ve been participating for five years. I am not a veteran, and this is our way of giving back a bit to those who did or are serving our country. I personally find it a very rewarding experience.”

Since becoming innkeepers, the Gelbs have taken a great interest in their community. They are both on the board of the Amagansett Village Improvement Society, which Victor has led as president for the past two years.

Gelb is also an amateur woodturner, something he first learned as a teenager and was away from until recently. “I love working in wood, whether turning or building projects for the inn or our home.”

The Gelbs also enjoy spending time with their sons and their partners and hope to do some traveling during the off seasons.

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Two-story Hamptons cottage with cedar siding, white trim, and wrap around porch sits in a green landscape.

In This Image: 434 on Main is a Hamptons bed and breakfast located in the hamlet of Amagansett, only minutes away from Atlantic beach. All baked goods are made from scratch by Cam Gelb. Both appetizer and entrée are the chef's choice, and the B&B alternates sweet and savory entrees each day.

A shortcake with whipped cream, strawberries and peaches, a sprig of mint and cinnamon sits on a white china with floral details.

In This Image: Peach and strawberry shortcake

A crumble-style dessert in a ramekin, garnished with berries, whipped cream, and a sprig of mint.

In This Image: Mixed berry crumble and fresh fruit, served with whipped cream

Five white china plates sit on a table, each staged with one crepe, drizzled with red sauce, whipped cream, and a sprig of mint.

In This Image: Berry crêpes

A puffed pie in a cast iron pan, garnished with sliced strawberries and a sprig of mint and accompanied by two sausage links.

In This Image: Apple dutch baby with sausage

A cast iron pan, filled with eggs poached in red sauce and sprinkled with cheese and served with two slices of whole grain toast.

In This Image: Shakshuka with toast

A sweet, cake-style loaf, drizzled with a clear glaze and split in the top from rising during baking.

In This Image: Lemon pound cake and blueberry muffins

Two plates serving a green salad, two slices of bacon, and a piece of whole grain toast topped with avocado and a poached egg.

In This Image: Avocado toast with a poached egg