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Lake Chelan resort built on Watson family values
By CARY ORDWAY
At a time when Lake Chelan waterfront costs approximately a gazillion dollars for a decent-sized lot, Robert “Bub” Watson, Jr. is content to hold onto his family's little piece of the South Shore - 130 acres, give or take - and run a resort built on, you might say, Family Tradition.

It's all about family for the Watsons, who take that one step further and invite YOUR family to be part of the tradition. For many decades, people from all over Washington state - especially the westside - have been vacationing at Watson's Harverene Resort with its prime location right next door to the Lake Chelan State Park. No mega-resort here, just cottages down by the water where the resort also features beach and lawn areas for family recreation, a swimming pool and boat docks and moorage for 45 boats.

The resort has just seven units available for nightly rental and those can get scarce during the peak of the sunny Chelan summer. Another 12 cottages are leased by the year and, back from the water a ways, are 53 mobile home sites. It all adds up to a lakefront community all its own and, from what we could tell, guests were getting plenty of use out of the lake and recreational facilities on the bright July day we visited.

The summer scene at Watson’s is one of laughing children, the tantalizing scent of barbecue in the air, dads playing catch with their kids and, off in the distance, the sounds of boat engines idling as ski boats wait two or three in line to get gas pumped at Watson's dock. It could be any family lakeside retreat in the country, except that in this case the backdrop is the pristine, clear water of 55-mile-long Lake Chelan, which stretches far to the northwest, snaking into the heart of the majestic Cascade Mountains.

Nowadays it’s pretty hard to find 130 acres of property on such a popular lake, even if you could afford to pay for it. You have to start working on it well in advance - so far in advance you won’t be born for another 70 years or so. It was Bub Watson's great grandfather who had the foresight to post a claim on this lakefront property. It was back in the 1890's and J. Howard Watson was not just a good real estate investor - he also knew a thing or two about newspapers. He founded the Spokane Spokesman (which later became today's Spokesman-Review) and he worked for the Seattle Times and Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. He was even secretary to Washington’s governor for two years.

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