Core pears from bottom, cutting to, but not through, stem end. Cut a thin slice from bottom of each so that pears stand upright. Stir together lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl. Peel pears; coat with lemon juice mixture to prevent browning.
Combine 2 cups water and next 6 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pears; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until pears are fork-tender. Remove pears, and chill.
Strain liquid; return to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Chill. Serve with pears. Garnish, if desired.