The Adventuresome Foursome

By Debbie Lagestee     •     Photos by Lea Austen Photography

Dan and Amanda Miller began their adventure together 13 years ago. They met while they were both in college, although in different states attending different universities. Dan was attending Rowan University in New Jersey, and Amanda was attending Towson University in Maryland. They were introduced by a mutual friend named Sara who lived in the same dorm as Amanda. Sara and Dan had worked together at a teen shelter in New Jersey. Their journey together began on their first date, a carriage ride around Old City Philadelphia. Their second date was spent exploring the Baltimore Harbor. They didn’t let the distance stop them from pursuing a life together. They dated for several years before getting married in July 2010. They were married at Middletown Reformed Church; a small picturesque church Amanda grew up attending, similar to one you would see in a Hallmark movie. The reception followed at Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, NJ. The morning rain brought good luck and good fortune as there is not one beach-goer in the background of their wedding photos.

They professed their love for each other that day, but they also fell in love with the hotel so much that they named their firstborn fur-baby Berkeley, after the hotel. This year they will celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary on an Alaskan cruise.

During their engagement living in separate states, the question became where to live.

Dan and Amanda knew they didn’t want to settle down in New Jersey, where they are both from. With Amanda’s sister attending Clemson University, they made many trips to visit her and always found a reason to make a side trip to Charleston. A city filled with so much history and so much to do seemed like a perfect fit for them. “We had a clean slate starting our lives together, we loved the city and decided to take a leap of faith and moved to Charleston”, said Amanda. The couple eventually moved to the Cypress subdivision of Carolina Bay. Their love for their new city and neighborhood was very convincing and contagious. Amanda’s parents, Bill and Diane Wallace moved right around the corner from them. It’s become a weekly family ritual to take the short walk to their home for Sunday dinner. After graduating from Clemson, Amanda’s sister also moved to Carolina Bay in the Rice Field subdivision. They also recruited extended family, aunts and uncles to move to Charleston as well.

In addition to sharing the love of travel and adventure, Amanda and Dan also work the same field although in different capacities. Amanda has taught middle school and high school math and is currently a High School math teacher at Charleston County School of the Arts. Dan is the Assistant District Director at Charleston Acceleration Academy. Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Education at Towson University in Maryland and a master’s degree in Education Leadership at Charleston Southern University. Dan received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Rowan University in New Jersey and a master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. Dan is a licensed clinical social worker, a certified anger resolutions therapist and a board-certified human service professional. Dan has 16 years of experience working as a counselor, therapist and school administrator.

Amanda and Dan have two sons, Landon and Deacon.  Landon is 7 years old; he loves all sports but especially football, soccer and surf fishing. He is very bright and active, always on the go. Deacon is 2 years old; he is full of talent and loves to sing and dance. Both boys love to cuddle. Friday nights in the Miller household is lovingly referred to as “FCT” family cuddle time. After dinner they all gather on the living room sofa to watch a family show together before bed, however most times they fall asleep before making it to bed! Their family motto is, “Sharing is caring, and we always share with family”. It’s this adage that helps resolve the “it’s mine” conflicts between the boys. Dan and Amanda’s parenting philosophy is to explore the world and teach their children life lessons.

Weekends and free time are filled with hikes, fishing, scouting new restaurants, attending community events and festivals, and cheering for Clemson Football, go Tigers! Being local to beautiful beaches has created some of their best family memories. They spend sun-filled days playing, strolling and exploring their favorite, Edisto Beach. Amanda says, “If we stay bored for too long, we go stir crazy.” Fun at home includes singing and dancing to 80’s and 90’s music.

The Millers love living in Carolina Bay. “It’s a warm and welcoming neighborhood, as you walk down the street people wave, even if you don’t know who they are”, Dan explained. “Neighbors are always respectful and helpful”, Amanda adds.  They enjoy the convenience of living so close to the pool and take advantage of the many ponds for fishing. A family favorite hobby is exploring the walking trails, and they found a “secret spot” behind the Essex pool which they frequent on their outings. Landon and his friends on Pepperwood Court, affectionately named the cul-de-sac crew, created a squirrel hunt club, pretending to be hunters, but never hurting any animals. The boys delight in having play-dates with other neighborhood friends. Halloween in the neighborhood is one of their most anticipated nights of the year. They are so impressed by amount of families having fun roaming the neighborhood. They usually take a trip around the block and then station themselves in the driveway to hand out candy and admire the amazing costumes. The family also loves to participate in the events hosted by the social committee throughout the year. The Easter Egg Hunt is one of the boys’ favorite activities. Dan and Amanda appreciate how all events at the park create great times and awesome memories. To the sponsors of Carolina Bay Neighbors, Dan and Amanda would like to say, “Thank you for supporting our neighborhood and bringing our community closer together.” 

Their adventures have gone beyond Charleston, Dan and Amanda’s first vacation together was a cruise to the Bahamas, then came a backpacking trip through Europe with great friends, visiting London, Paris the Netherlands and Germany which was their favorite place. Family vacations have included trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains where they had autumn fun, apple picking and a summer excursion touring Asheville, NC. Last year, they took the quintessential trip to Disney. Their most recent vacation was to Gatlinburg, TN; the highlight was Deacon playing in the snow for the first time! Already on the books for 2021 is a trip planned with extended family to the Northeast to visit Niagara Falls and New England. Their dream family vacation when the boys reach high school would be to tour Europe as they had done as a couple. The countries that they look forward to exploring are Germany, Italy, Spain and the countryside of France. Until then, they will continue to venture out and about, touring and exploring because they know wherever they go, there is always an adventure to be had!

This article was featured in the May 2020 issue of Carolina Bay Neighbors magazine.


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