Peel pears and slice in half, lengthwise. Remove the core and the stem.
Combine sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Place pears in the saucepan flat-side down, without overlapping. Simmer covered for 20 to 30 minutes until tender (test with a toothpick)
Remove pears from the saucepan using a slotted spoon and reserve the syrup.
Dip in 1/4-lb melted, semi-sweet chocolate, or sprinkle with chopped, crystallized ginger, or serve 1/2 pear on a slice of pound cake with whipped cream and chopped walnuts.