New Jersey really needs to work on its foreign policy. We let Delaware invade the Garden State over 300 years ago and they still hold power on our soil to this day.

Tucked away along the Delaware Bay in South Jersey are two enclaves of land that belong to our sales taxless neighbors to the south. They're a part of New Castle County, DE.

The first is in Pennsville, just northwest of Fort Mott State Park and Killcohook National Wildlife Refuge. Finn's Point National Cemetery is also nearby.

Delaware/NJ land border 1

I wish I could tell you there was more fanfare when I got as close as I could get, but it was pretty ho-hum. No Border Patrol. No electronic toll. Just a mass of land you're not allowed to walk on.

Delaware's land border with New Jersey
Taken at Fort Mott State Park,

While this Delawart growing off New Jersey's big toe is not the most awe-inspiring image, there are other reasons to check out the area, especially if you are a history buff.

Fort Mott State Park features weaponry and bunkers erected in the 1890s. After the Civil War, it was part of a three-fort coastal defense system for the Delaware River. However once World War I ended, most of the artillery became obsolete. Troops were regularly stationed there from 1897 to 1922. The federal government then only maintained a caretaking detachment at the fort until 1943.

As you walk through the park, you'll notice tons of interpretive signs with detailed and thought provoking descriptions.
The view of Delaware's claim to NJ land from the top of one of the bunkers /
The view of Delaware's claim to NJ land from the top of one of the bunkers /

And if you go during autumn like I did, you'll be treated to some great foliage.

The Pennsville land border has served as a bit of a headache. Since the land is secluded, it's prone to criminal activity. Neither Pennsville Police nor the New Jersey State Police have jurisdiction in the area. According to News 12, that means if a dead body turns up or some other grisly discovery is made, anyone involved must wait for Delaware State Police to arrive.

It's a 20-minute drive from New Castle, DE to Pennsville, NJ, with a bridge crossing. It could be worse, but 20 minutes can be an eternity if you're a police officer.

As you head farther south along the bay, you'll come across the other land border we share with Delaware. This one is also impossible to step foot on, or even get a photo of. The border lies behind the Salem Nuclear Power Plant, which is owned by PSEG Nuclear.

It's located on the tip of Artificial Island, part of Lower Alloways Creek.


The reason Delaware has ownership of this land dates back to the 1600s, and it's a result of a border dispute spanning 80 years. Better known as the Penn–Calvert boundary dispute.

For context, the dispute goes so far back, both Mason AND Dixon were involved. A contract between the Penns, Baltimore, as well as Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon was signed on July 20, 1763.

The final outcome involved the making of The 12-mile circle, which was a series of circular arcs created to establish the border between Delaware and Pennsylvania, with New Castle, DE as the epicenter.

Just to rub it in our faces a little more, in between the two pieces of land, Delaware also takes claim over the low tide point along NJ's mean low-tide mark.

Google Maps
Google Maps

That is a skintight border. A little too tight if you ask me.

Current New Jersey officials won't admit Delaware's land borders bother them, but it is absolutely in the back of their minds. As recently as 2008 New Jersey took the fight over the land all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Delaware really has some nerve being in our business the way they are.

They love to boast about being the "first state," as if they held their statehood for a millenia, but in reality, they were the only state for five days.

Delaware achieved statehood on Dec. 7, 1787. Pennsylvania followed on Dec. 12. And third on the list was a cute little pseudo-peninsula we call New Jersey on Dec. 18. Get a grip.

We are prettier, have a much better figure, AND we're the younger sister.

Delaware? More like Dela-where the hell am I?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.

Questions, corrections, or comments? Send Joe Votruba an email. Follow Joe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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