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The Watson Inn Caters To Couples Throughout The Years

By Staff | Feb 9, 2010

Chef Fred Amato and Pam Lenig, General Manager make sure guests are welcome and comfortable at the Watson Inn.

WATSONTOWN – For romance, chocolate and heart shaped tubs, The Watson Inn on Main Street in Watsontown is the perfect place to visit for Valentine’s Day.

Its old fashioned hospitality dates back to 1857 when the establishment was first known as the Cooner Hotel. It was a frequent stop for horseback riders coming through the valley for good food and a good night’s sleep. Over 150 years later and many improvements and additions, Norman’s Watson Inn is still welcoming guests and visitors for a good time and a good place to eat.

“Not a whole lot of its history is known,” said Pam Lenig, General Manager. “I know it has had about four owners. It has always been a restaurant and a hotel,” she said. Norman and Nancy Buck purchased it in 1990 under foreclosure by Farmers National Bank on January 25 and made several renovations to the place. The original building had two and a half stories with ten guest rooms. “We now have 32 rooms and three stories,” said Lenig. The Inn started with 5,002 square feet and expanded to over 17,000 square feet of space that includes the luxurious Heritage dining room and a banquet room equipped with dance floor and stage that can serve up to 350 guests.

Lenig began working for the Inn in 1991 and has seen many changes along the way. Three king sized jacuzzi suites were added, and the largest one with the heart shaped tub is complementary for the bride and groom when booking a wedding reception. A catering service was also added and Chef Amato, another long time employee, will cater an event either at the Watson Inn or at a customer’s choice location.

The Watson Inn is also ‘The Home of the Chocolate Fountain!’ Sephra Chocolate Fountains are available for events hosted at the Watson Inn.

Controller, Staci Goodspeed shows off the jacuzzi suite and tub that is complementary for the bride and groom for their wedding night when holding a reception at the Watson Inn.

Rental fee includes setup and cleaning plus a choice of five to twenty-five pounds of chocolate, wooden skewers, and two and a half hours of pure chocolate bliss with “Dipping Items” that include strawberries, stemmed cherries, pretzels, graham crackers, marshmallows, bananas, vanilla wafers, animal crackers, cookies, and seasonal fruits (pineapple, honeydew, cantelope).

“We have delighted so many couples since I have been here,” recalls Lenig. She told how one couple from New York City likes to come here every year during Penn State football season. He works at the World Trade Center and they come every year for a weekend for about four our five football games. “We have another couple that comes and stays during Little League season every year from California. He is a district administrator for California Little League,” added Lenig. “I am retiring after 51 years at the end of September 2010 and this will be my last trip to the little jewel called the Watson Inn. I will remember it forever as a place for friends to stay,” said Bob Fogle from California.

Some celebrities have stayed also. Johnny Cash’s brother, Tommy Cash often requests the same room and stays about six times a year between music shows when he is on the road. “We’ve had brides come here from as far away as Germany, California and Hawaii for their weddings. Just this past weekend a group of five soldiers from Fort Indiantown Gap came here to stay,” she said.

Just about every year during Valentine’s Day someone gets a surprise engagement proposal at The Watson Inn. “I always get excited on Valentine’s Day because it always happens. Two years ago we were asked to put the engagement ring in the cake that was ordered for dessert as a surprise,” exclaimed Lenig. The restaurant will be open on Sunday for Valentine’s Day and will be taking reservations for surf and turf, apple pork tenderloin or crab alfredo. Serving times are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a full menu and children’s menu are also available. For more information visit their website at www.watsoninn.com or call 538-1832.

– Scholarship Fund Established for High School Students –

The Watson Inn circa 1932. It was built in 1857 and known originally as the Cooner Hotel.

In 2004 Norman Buck, a plumbing and heating contractor, passed away. He was sadly missed by his staff and family. In 2005 Norman’s son, Rick Buck and General Manager, Pam Lenig started a scholarship fund in Norman’s honor. Norman loved to play music, entertain, eat and have fun with his friends according to Lenig. Therefore the Norman E. Buck Scholarship Fund was established to benefit area students seeking higher education in plumbing and heating careers, culinary arts, music fields and hospitality. So far the fund has raised over $22,000 since its inception through fundraisers at the Inn. The annual Bucky Bash held in late summer is a big draw said Lenig about the event. Another successful fundraiser is a golf tournament held each year in October in Turbotville.

Eligible students can apply for the scholarship fund this month through Lewisburg, Mifflinburg, Milton and Warrior Run schools. Award ceremonies will be held at the end of the school year after a review and selection process held in May from Buck and Lenig.